Hahnville’s run through the Class 5A boys basketball playoffs came to an end Wednesday night, as the Tigers fell 70-54 to Alexandria at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.
Just days after a 14-point second half rally to defeat Ouachita Parish last week, the Tigers attempted to make it a second straight comeback victory. Alexandria led by nine entering the fourth quarter and Hahnville drew as close as four in the final quarter, but Alexandria was able to distance itself from there to advance to the Class 5A championship game.
Latrell Holly’s explosive night paced the Trojans. He scored 28 points for Alexandria, including 14 straight at one point in the first half. Desmond McQuain added 20.
The 6th seeded Trojans (31-6) will face the winner of the other semifinal between No. 9 Walker and No. 4 Bonnabel in Saturday’s 5A final.
Hahnville finishes its season with a final record of 26-10.
Dylan Lorio led the Tigers with 15 points. Kaden Pierre scored 14. Corey Lorio scored seven, while Claudell Harris and Takourin Grows each had six.
Early in the game, the Tigers found difficulty generating offense. Alexandria led 9-3 before Hahnville reeled off six points in a row near the end of the first quarter.
But Holly started to heat up and it put Hahnville in a hole. He got rolling from deep as did the Trojans as a team: Alexandria hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter and took a 33-26 lead into halftime. Alexandria led by as many as 13 in the second half.
“That was the challenge of the game for us,” Hahnville head coach Yussef Jasmine said. “We struggled to score early on and we were playing catch up all night. That put more pressure on us at the defensive end and we missed some assignments. They’re a great free throw shooting team, and that was a big factor as well.”
Hahnville indeed made a push, but after closing the gap to 54-50 in the fourth quarter, Alexandria answered with a bucket to create some extra breathing room. The Trojans kept their distance via accuracy at the free throw line, making 24 of their 27 attempts from the stripe. That proved a big advantage against Hahnville, which shot just seven free throws, making four.
Another critical difference came behind the arc. Alexandria also made 10 3-pointers in the game, while the Tigers struggled, shooting 4 for 25 from 3 point range.
“It was no one thing,” Jasmine said. “We fouled way too much and put them on the line.”
He said he felt for most of the night, the chance to potentially turn the game around was just out of reach.
“I think we had to get it tied,” Jasmine said. “We felt like their better players are their guards, and when you have that, you can dictate what goes on dictate what you need to do. We have good guard play as well, but we were never in that spot to really control things. I think if we could have just tied it, we could have maybe cleared the hurdle, but we could never get there.”
He said that after the game, he was able to reflect with his players on what the team accomplished this season. Hahnville has gone further each postseason in Jasmine’s three years as head coach of the program. After not qualifying for the playoffs in 2017, the Tigers have hosted at least one playoff game for three straight seasons, and the semifinal run was the program’s best showing since 2009.
“It was emotional,” Jasmine said of the postgame with his players. “But it’s like I told them, we’ve built a solid program in just three years. Every year we’ve pushed further, and this year we were in the final four, playing in the final week of the season. At the end of the day, we’ve got a lot to be proud of.
“We’ll look at the numbers and say, ‘well if this had gone differently, or if we had done this better, maybe we win,’ and that’s what the numbers do. But at the end of the day, I’m gonna miss the vibe of being around these guys. I didn’t want the season to end, because it was like spending quality family time. But looking forward, with our younger guys, it’s about what they do with this moment. Being hungry and using that to come back next season.”